I'm sure Cuddyer's return to third base has delighted members of the blogosophere. I am not pleased by switch. Is Rush Limbaugh the one who says "follow the money" to analyze any situation? With Ron Gardenhire, just follow the Punto. Then it all makes sense.
Bill Smith and Ron Gardenhire have been playing chess with the lineup since the end of last season. Smith gave Gardy almost no option to keep Delmon Young on the bench. But during interleague play, Gardy moved Cuddyer to third in order to keep the best bats in the lineup. This gets everybody used to Cuddyer at third again. If Cuddyer is at third, then Kubel is in the outfield. If Kubel is in the outfield, all four outfield options on the Twins are in the game. If there are four outfield options in the game, then the Twins need another outfielder. (This much has already happened. My brother could vouch that I saw this coming). When JJ Hardy returns, he'll get his spot back at shortstop. Nick Punto battles out there. He plays great defense for us. He runs around the bases pretty well, too. He's versatile, so we'll find a way to work him in there. Gardy will want to play Punto at third to improve defense. He'll want to keep Cuddyer's bat in the lineup. Cuddyer is versatile. I think he's played just about every position for us at some point. He played right field before. We'll still run him out there now and then. This means Jason Kubel needs a place to go. Kubel will move to left and Young will sit on the bench. Checkmate. Gardy can now bench Delmon Young in order to work Nicky in there. If Gardy could manage a baseball game with this much foresight, I don't think we'd have the pitchers getting so many at bats in American League ballparks. Follow the Punto.